(R, 1:43:12, Released 2011)
|Release Date:||Oct 14, 2011|
|DVD Release Date:||Jan 24, 2012|
|Starring:||Pollyanna McIntosh, Sean Bridgers, Angela Bettis, Lauren Ashley Carter, Zach Rand, Carlee Baker, Alexa Marcigliano, Shyla Molhusen, Marcia Bennett, Chris Krzykowski|
|Directed by:||Lucky McKee|
|Synopsis:||Family man and lawyer Christoper Cleek (Sean Bridgers) must do what he can to protect his family when he comes into contact with a feral woman (Pollyana McIntosh) living in the woods near his isolated country home. Through a series of harrowing encounters Cleek and his family quickly discover there is more to this woman than anyone would suspect and that sometimes the devil wears a handsome face. -- (C) Official Site|
|Full movie details|
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My Friends' Reviews
Other Top Reviews
December 31, 2012
Director of the incredible May takes over this sequel to Jack Ketchum's Offspring. This film is much better, as it has a quirky humorous tone that exists throughout and adds to the shocking moments. The Woman sees the last survivor from Offspring captured by a small town lawyer who wishes to 'civilise' her. As you can imagine, he's a bit of a dick, and the question around who is truly 'civilised' is raised. Sean Bridges gives an excellent creepy turn as the father of the family, who can be all smiles and sunshines before hitting a woman. The idea of feminism and strength plays throughout, and we see the negative effect Bridgers actions have on his family, especially his son. At times the tone is something bizarre, which may put viewers off, but overall this is a wonderfully crafted little horror film that works as a disturbing fable.
September 3, 2012
The eponymous character in "The Woman" is apparently the last survivor of a cannibalistic, feral tribe. This Tarzan-like jungle woman lives in a cave, roams around the woods in tiny rags, hunts animals with her dagger for food, and bathes in a little stream running across the woods. In a long drawn sequence, with drone-like sound effects, a daily routine of hers is shown along with a dream vision of a baby and a wild dog!
Needless to say, she is totally unclean, has a horridly dirty mouth, but teeth that bite like an alligator! In one of her bathing routines, she is spotted by a successful country lawyer, Chris Cleek (Sean Bridgers), through the scope of his hunting rifle, during one of his hunting trips in the woods. One wonders why this cave woman was never spotted before in all these years! Perhaps she has been a nomad all along, but didn't anyone ever discover her before, and hand her over to the authorities or provide help? No answers are provided for this implausibility.
Chris is immediately turned on by her beautiful body and animalistic body language and the mood suddenly shifts from dark and menacing to that of a light-hearted teeny bopper film, as some happy alternative pop-rock music starts playing, as Chris watches, like some curious teenager, his tongue almost sticking out, as the woman bathes and moves about in slow motion!
He promptly kidnaps her, brings her home and restrains her in his cellar! As it turns out, Chris has a family; a meek, but scary-looking wife Belle (Angela Bettis), two daughters, Darlin and Peggy (Shyla Molhusen and Lauren Ashley Carter respectively), the latter being a teenager, and an adolescent, aspiring basketball player, son, Brian (Zach Rand). But Chris himself comes across as a psychopath; a man who slaps his wife, mouths some cryptic ramblings, smirks wickedly and mumbles his dialog in a fashion that beats Harrison Ford in "Bladerunner"! This is the kind of character who drips wickedness from the first instance you set eyes on him.
Chris introduces his family to the woman and sets up tasks for each of the family members as a daily routine, as steps towards "civilizing" the woman! A totally lame explanation given, considering, shackling a woman up in the cellar like a circus animal and forcibly training her is hardly civilized behavior. The family members appear disturbed, but comply anyway. Over the next few days, Chris, and later his son, subject the hapless woman to inhuman treatment, force feeding her, dressing and undressing her at gunpoint, and also raping and molesting her, while she continues to remain shackled, all under the guise of turning her from an animal into a human!
That's not all! While the youngest member of the family (Darlin) remains oblivious to the goings-on, Belle and Peggy are visibly disturbed, while there's some other matter that also appears to be troubling Peggy. Her teacher (Carlee Baker) notices the change in her behavior and wonders what to do about it, while the primary characters, the family members continue to walk and talk like zombies throughout this bastardization of the horror genre. But what is bothersome is the inherent misogyny in the writing, and Jack Ketchum seems to revel in writing about women being brutally victimized. "The Woman", in fact, reminds of Jack Ketchum's earlier film adaptation, "The Girl Next Door" (2007), based on the real life incident of the torture and murder of Sylvia Likens during the 60s. That film was a more blatant torture porn show, depicting a series of brutal acts, unleashed on a teenaged girl, by a woman, her kids and the neighbouring kids, while keeping her restrained in a cellar!
"The Woman" almost treads similar ground, except it pretends to carry a "feminist" message. The only problem is, merely adding an uplifting ending can't make up for the various, unforgivable atrocities that almost all the women in this gruesome tale are subjected to. Sample this: Chris and his son, both rape and molest the cave woman, while she is still restrained, and the son even tortures her by piercing her nipple with a pair of pliers!! Other primary women characters in the film are collectively subjected to heinous acts like underage sexual abuse, brutal beating, slapping, punching in the stomach, verbal abuse, dragging around the lawn with hands tied, having their face eaten up, even being fed to the dogs! In the final act, in what seems to be served as comic relief, albeit in a macabre and bad taste, you even get to see one woman behaving like a dog!
If you have a writer that takes delight in creating situations that involve his female characters being subjected to atrocities, an able director usually does a good job of showcasing it, in a way that it gets under your skin. But Lucky McKee who gave us the wonderful "May" (2002) earlier, also starring Angela Bettis, misfires this time around with his shoddy writing (he has co-written the script with Ketchum) and substandard directing. One may argue, that director Lucky McKee, succeeds in emotionally draining the viewer out. While he tries, he doesn't entirely succeed, for our focus keeps shifting to how badly some scenes are directed, hence rather than get emotionally gutted with the happenings on screen, we are distracted by the poor execution.
Firstly, The soundtrack to the film is all wrong. Throughout the film there is background music that is completely out of sync with the nature of the scene being depicted on screen. Most of the music used is alternative or pop-rock that's a total misfit and completely ruins any chance of building tension in some of the film's more intense scenes. In fact, it near about drowns out some of the dialog in some seemingly ordinary, but important scenes, like the conversation between Peggy's teacher and her male colleague, where a background score simply wasn't necessary! Secondly, the film is almost devoid of any suspense, and you practically know how a scene is going to play out. Most of the shock value, then comes from the gore and the torture scenes! Such terrible handling, along with implausible situations, over-the-top characterization, and a hurried, unconvincing and unsatisfying climax, (albeit one that has enough "meat" to satiate the gore-hounds) bring the film down to the ground!
There is almost nothing that works in the favor of McKee's obnoxious film, apart from a commendable performance by Bettis; and yet she isn't half as great as she was in her earlier "May". Lauren Ashley Carter as Peggy, doesn't do much, except sulk and sob helplessly, while Pollyanna McIntosh hunts dogs, gets manhandled by the male characters, gets exhausted, while still maintaining a considerably menacing look on her face and growls, hisses and bites once in a while! One also wonders how a woman who has lived so far from civilization all her life, manages to maintain a completely clean-shaven upper lip, armpits and legs!
Zach Rand as Brian is completely wooden. Sean Bridgers delivers an irksome lead performance as he grimaces and mumbles his lines as if chewing gum! His lines are much clearer when he is hurling abuses at the women!
With this grisly, but flawed and completely pointless mess called "The Woman", what we get is yet another gory midnight horror, with lots of blood-and flesh-splatter and gruesome acts, but almost devoid of suspense or anything remotely exciting. In the end, it is simply akin to an exploitative grindhouse flick, with torture and misogynistic tendencies at its center. It is films like these, that are ruining the horror genre beyond redemption.
fb57802118October 16, 2011
A competently acted and well directed film that doesn't go as far as it wants to. Sure, the basis of the film is misogynistic--who can't see that? But it wants to be incisive in its analysis of that basis, and it doesn't go as far as it should. The movie sets up a straw man of misogyny in its main character, Chris Cleek, and is more willing to focus on him than his female victims. Add in a predictable ending (with a bizarre coda) and you've got "The Woman." Trust me--it's more shallow than it pretends to be.
April 30, 2012
Very good movie! It's disturbing, frightening, and outrageous! It's a little slow the first 45 minutes...but the pace quickly picks up into a one bloody good movie!
March 5, 2012
***1/2 out of ****
It's baffling to me that this film is being marketed as a straight-up horror film; because after watching it, I can say with much confidence that it's anything but. "The Woman" is more like a provocative and deeply perturbing drama with a blood-soaked finale; in which explosions of brutal violence come from all directions, lending it the label of a horror-show. Still, if you're observant of time; you'll notice that the nastiness only really starts in the last twenty minutes of the movie, although it's quite apparent that the film has been building up a whole lot of hatred and stark nihilism throughout the other eighty. Disturbing, pretty much from beginning to end, "The Woman" is perfect anti-entertainment; there wasn't a moment that I can say I actually enjoyed watching it, although it drew me in more than half the films of last year even had the potential or chance to, and I'm mighty grateful for that. It's directed with style, yes, but I think above all it should be admired and respected for the script; which shows great empathy and understanding for its characters, consistently messing with our perceptions of good and evil.
The Cleek family is an all-American one; a textbook example of their kind. They commute to their community, socialize within their home, and care for one another. And hey, look at that, even dad has a recreational pastime. The members of the Cleek household are father/husband Chris (Sean Bridgers), mother/wife Belle (Angela Bettis), adolescent son Brian (Zach Rand), young child Darlin (Shyla Molhusen), and teenage daughter Peggy (Lauren Ashley Carter). Every member of the family has their own issues: by the end we're convinced that dad's a psychopath, mother is genuinely weak and anything but strong-willed, son is quicker to ponder adulthood than most, and daughter is a depressed Goth Girl, minus the piercings. But these problems are just going to keep on stacking up upon one-another; as the biggest of big problems has yet to rear its ugly head.
Father - Chris - likes to hunt; and one night, he partakes in a rather eventful trip to the nearby woods. While scoping out potential prey with his weapon of choice, he spots a primitive woman (Pollyanna McIntosh) bathing in the creek. Entrapped by her alluring figure, Chris vows to return the next day and capture her, which he does. He then brings the woman home, has her hung by chains in the backyard cellar, and proceeds to devise a family-wide plan to properly "civilize" his discovery. She is underdeveloped, and cannot speak the English language like we do; instead communicating through aggressive snarls and peculiar teething methods (in a particularly gruesome scene, she bites Chris's ring finger clean off). The women of the family disapprove of them keeping this "thing" in their basement; although it's Brian who eventually sides with his old man, desperate to become on himself. In the next few days, we'll witness the dark side of humanity; one character at a time.
Say you've got a weak stomach, and you cringe at the thought of films such as "Hostel" and "Saw". If this is indeed the case, you definitely don't want to be seeing "The Woman"; for it is the kind of movie that is relentless towards personal preference or feeling. I mentioned earlier that it's only terribly bloody in its final moments, and I stick to my word, but there's an ever-building sense of dread throughout (not to mention some absolutely disgusting scenes in which Chris feeds the woman) that makes the film incredibly disturbing. It's a difficult watch, and it's generated some controversy over "misogynistic themes", but I object. In my eyes, it's a strictly feminist film; and if it's cynical towards any group of people, it's humanity as a whole. The film is not selective of gender, race, or social class; it tells a story in which just about everyone is evil, depending on your definition of the term.
A lot of people who see this movie are going to either hate it or love it. Nevertheless, you probably won't enjoy it. "The Woman" is not entertainment, but at the same time, it's not offensive or particularly exploitative either. Through dark humor and tense horrors, it creates scathing social commentary on those who we consider "normal" or "civilized". Its themes and messages have been done before, yes, but most Hollywood movies would have either sugarcoated the ideas that it has on its mind, or they wouldn't have dealt with them at all. This is a flawlessly acted, brilliantly directed art-house horror-drama with enough on its mind to engage and intrigue. It was ultimately compelling enough for me to care about its characters and resonate with its message. At this point, I don't care what anyone says: this is a fantastic film, unpleasant and strange as it is.
"The Woman" was written and directed by Lucky McKee; a sequel to Jack Ketchum's "Offspring", which got an absolutely brainless film adaptation. McKee has once again startled and moved me simultaneously, just as he did with his darkly beautiful "May", which was one of my favorite horror films of this past decade. "The Woman" once again proves that he has a voice; and it deserves to be heard. I can neither recommend nor discourage you from seeing the film; all I know is that I found it to be kind of brilliant. It got under my skin, it made me think a whole lot, and it's not a cheap morality tale; you know, the kind that I feared it might have been. But McKee does not disappoint. He has a vision, and even if it's an uncompromising and unforgiving one, he isn't afraid of anything. He survived the criticism and backlashing that "The Woman" received after its initial screening at the Cannes Film Festival, and this is where the movie has brought him. Through repulsion and disgust, he evokes a much deeper sadness that lies beneath. I hope people will see and admire the film; although I would also expect they'd cease to enjoy it, for to do so would be shameless and perverse.
November 2, 2011
Centering around a country family whose patriarch takes captive and tries all means to "civilize" a woman of the wild, "The Woman" will unsettle the viewer, not just with its content matter but also with its production values. It was gritty and has its fair share of gore that made me squirm in my seat. A set of original songs went surprisingly well with the scenes, which made each performance, cut and edit more interesting. Twists and turns take the story to an unpredictable direction and when it came down to the final act, it left me quite speechless for both the right and wrong reasons.
fb100001266995067May 5, 2012
In a film that raised a lot of controversy at Sundance we follow a family whos main man Mr. Cleek captures a woman who they are trying to civilize. As Mrs.Cleek questions this decision Mr.Cleek slaps her and casually goes back to bed. You'd think this would be a first warning sign, or maybe a second the first being tha
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